We all would like to
think our collectible reels are in excellent condition, but the fact remains that very few
will actually fall into that category. There is a system which assigns a number from 1 to
10, with a 10 being the highest condition. Two numbers are usually quoted: first the
physical appearance and second the mechanical condition.
excellent (10, 10) , a reel must:
Have near flawless
surfaces, no scratches, no dents, no metal worn off down to the brass, sharp edges,
plating intact, no corrosion, pitting, or chips.
parts should work effortlessly with no abnormal sounds, no binding, no looseness.
parts such as handles, side plates, or bushings should be in original condition. Hard
rubber side plates would be polished and dark.
No engraving, or
initials inscribed whatever other than that done my the manufacturer.
Screw heads must not
be distorted or stripped from dismantling. Knobs without plier marks from disassembly.
The foot which
attaches to the rod must not have been filed or altered to fit a rod.
Variations from excellent will
degrade the reel proportionally and consequently reduce the value by a relative amount.
very good, a reel
- Occasional light scratches
- Minor normal plate wear
- Rubber edges may not be sharp
- Minor foot imperfections
- Crank knobs still tight
- All functions work well, though some
slight spool drag may be evident
- Some click wear
Although I have no interest in
reels in less than very good condition, the test for good condition would be:
- All functions work, but with some
- Click or brake not functional
- Jammed level wind or handle bent.
- Chips, small dents, light corrosion
- Foot filed heavily
- Screw heads buggered and distorted
Rarity is a factor in grading and
has to be taken into account when placing a price. This is based on knowledge of the
collector and is, as you may have expected, very expensive to obtain. The process of
learning about reels usually involves buying large quantities of what you once thought
were "excellent" examples, only to learn later that they were trash. The usually
process is to collect for a while and upgrade as you learn more and more about what is
normal and truly excellent. I've already thrown out my first collection and now I pretty
much know what I want to collect to make me sleep well at night.
Reel collectors as a breed are
typically very picky about even small points. Being mechanical, reels lend themselves to
critical inspection and comparison to previously existing examples. Unlike fishing lures,
where much of the eye appeal is artistic in value, reels collectors are more likely to
assign value to condition and functionality.
If you have early fishing reels you wish to sell, please call me at my
business number (Custom Rod and Gun):
Greene at Custom Rod and Reel